Frozen in place


It was magical last night. Yesterday’s snowfall was encrusted with a layer of freezing rain, and every surface was perfectly glazed. It was beautiful. And dangerous. I was grateful I did not have to drive anywhere. 

I peeked out our front door to enjoy the crystal outlines of each tiny twig. In the wind, the branches creaked and crackled. We were frozen in place. 

I thought of this image and a recent visit to one of my patients. We were waiting for the end-of-life to come, being uncertain when it would be, and watching, longing for release. We were in this liminal space between life and death. A fragile place. A quiet place. A frozen place. 

I reflected with my patient on how much of life is in this place of waiting. Of not knowing what’s next, not seeing around the next bend, not knowing when the ice will melt and we will be free of slush and cold winds. (I mean, the groundhog said we would have an early spring… But do I believe him?)

I have noted a pattern with some of my patients. There is a difference of attitude that comes from waiting with confidence, waiting with the sort of self acceptance and patience that comes from years of trials and prayer. From years of… Waiting!

Indeed my patient had lived through many years of waiting. Waiting after a spouse died. Waiting after children had grown and gone. Waiting after relocating from a home of many years and memories to a retirement home. Waiting to see if chemotherapy would work. And finally now, waiting for one’s own death.

But in the middle of all of this, in the middle of the swirl of wondering and waiting, there is peace, there is hope, and there is an abundant awareness of the love and faithfulness of God. This is one of the themes of Lent… Journeying towards the cross and the empty tomb. Waiting for that “Great Gettin’ Up Mornin’.  

For this moment we may be frozen in place. But the time will come…

Even so, Lord Jesus. Maranatha!

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